Creature Feature: Pin-tailed whydah

This parasitic bird has moved across the world to the Hollywood hills with dreams of making it big in Los Angeles. But will it succeed, and will it threaten native species?

Creature Feature: The kelp forest—an underwater housing crisis

Let’s take a dip into the dark, chilly waters of northern California, where upwelling supplies nutrients to a forest canopy of slick, bulbous kelp tendrils, tangles of verdant sea grasses, and richly iridescent seaweeds. Kelps are considered “ecosystem engineers” as they provide habitat structure and modulate nutrient dynamics for a diverse host of tenants.

Creature Feature: Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Since Snowball the sulphur-crested cockatoo went viral with his dance moves, plenty of cockatoos and other parrot species have been observed boogieing to their favorite jams. What makes these birds such good dancers? The leading hypothesis is that their innate vocal learning ability has equipped them with the special perceptual and cognitive tools that allow them to feel the rhythm and move to a beat.

Creature Feature: Fat-tailed dwarf lemur

A primate that hibernates? Check out this week’s Creature Feature to learn more about the fat-tailed dwarf lemur, a nocturnal, hibernating primate from Madagascar!

Creature Feature: Tongue-eating louse

“Hey Mr. Fish, Cat got your tongue?” Nope! Actually, it’s the parasite Cymothoa exigua, commonly known as the tongue-eating louse. Despite their louse-y nickname, C. exigua are actually isopods (a type of crustacean like crabs or shrimp). And as you probably guessed from their common name, they do some pretty freaky stuff! Tongue-eating lice are…

Creature feature: Common poorwill

At a time when people are encouraged to isolate themselves and remain indoors to slow the spread of the 2019 coronavirus, many of us are feeling antsy or idle. But sitting inactive for long periods of time is the name of the game for the common poorwill. These birds are a member of the nightjar…

Creature Feature: Ringneck snake

To readers with ophidiophobia, or the fear of snakes, Ireland should be high on your vacation destination list. Popular legend attributes the Emerald Isle’s lack of legless reptiles to the actions of St. Patrick. He is said to have banished all snakes from Ireland in the 5th century AD after the serpentine critters attempted to…

Creature Feature: World Wildlife Day

Biodiversity encompasses all life on Earth: from the adorable birds in your backyard to the terrific trees that provide shade each summer, the fresh fish in your tacos to the sneaky squirrel that tries to snag your snack . . .